Lundqvist impresses in first INDYCAR outing and sets fastest lap of the race
Nashville, Tenn. – (6 August 2023) – Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) put together a strong event in Nashville on Sunday, carding a season-best finish on an NTT INDYCAR SERIES street course this year as veteran Helio Castroneves brought his No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda home in 11th place.
The veteran Castroneves was paired with 24-year-old Linus Lundqvist on a very warm Sunday, who was making his series debut as a substitute for the injured Simon Pagenaud, and the youngster ran a very strong race just outside of the top ten before late race contact with the wall placed him 25th.
Starting 17th, the popular Brazilian pitted after just five trips around the 2.1-mile, 11-turn Nashville street course as MSR developed an alternative pit strategy to get Castroneves off of the softer alternate tires early in the race. The plan worked well for the pink-and-white No. 06 machine as he used longer fuel stints and consistent lap times to move into the top five as the myriad of strategies played out through the 27-car field.
The move paid off handsomely for the four-time Indianapolis 500 champion as he found himself in 11th for a Lap 77 restart, which was necessitated by a late-race red flag where four cars suffered contact. Castroneves battled on the restart and had passed for 10th before yielding the position back a lap later and settling for a solid 11th-place result.
Lundqvist (No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda) showed very well in his series debut after starting 11th, managing his tires well and allowing MSR to consider any number of strategies on a day when teams used many different options to get to the end of the 80-lap race.
After pitting on Lap 14, the reigning INDY NXT champion made his Firestone rubber last for 28 laps before his next stop – working his way up to fifth in the process. He short-pitted on his next stint to get himself back in line with his teammate and made a fistful of on-track passes in moving into the top half of the field. His charge through the field also saw Lundqvist post the fastest lap of the race. Unfortunately, contact ended his day with 10 laps to run.
MSR will pack quickly and head back to Indianapolis for the third time this season, competing again on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for Saturday’s Gallagher Grand Prix. Qualifying will take place Friday afternoon, with Saturday’s race shown live on USA Network and Peacock. Live audio of all sessions will also be available on Sirius XM Radio, Channel 160.
“Coming from 17th to 11th, was really awesome today. The AutoNation / SiriusXM machine was pretty strong this weekend. We knew we had it. We had some good moments, going sideways and bumping but in the end it was great points for the team, we needed it.”
“My first-ever INDYCAR weekend is over, sadly it didn’t end the way I wanted it to. First off I want to sorry to the team. We’ve had such a great weekend, we had great speed, so it’s sad to end it in the wall. It was simply my mistake pushing a little bit. But put that aside, I think we did very well, the car was awesome. There were a few surprises in there for me, I had never done pit stops before. I’m very happy that I got the 70 laps in, but it definitely leaves a bit of a sour taste in my mouth to end the weekend like that. I have to thank Mike and Jim and the team for having me with them this weekend, it really was a dream come true.”